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RandBall: Think twice before demanding Twins spend big in free agency

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • May 7, 2013 - 5:01 PM

Anyone clamoring for the Twins to load up the payroll with high-priced veterans -- you know, the folks always yelling that the Pohlads are cheap -- should pay attention to this piece by Tom Verducci in SI.com. It goes beyond buyer beware in MLB free agency to what he describes as a culture shift. A few grafs:

For all the overhyped noise of baseball's silly season -- when fans demand teams spend on free agents and owners get emboldened by their TV money -- free agency is becoming a more and more inefficient market. In addition to the troubles of Greinke, Hamilton and Upton, among other top free agents who changed teams Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39) has been horrible for the Cubs and Michael Bourn has been hurt for the Indians.

Kirk Gibson in 1988 became the poster player for the "one player away" philosophy that pervades baseball's winter: sign the right guy and you can win the World Series, which the Dodgers did after Gibson left Detroit for Los Angeles and had an MVP season. More recently, the Yankees spent nearly half a billion dollars on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett after New York failed to make the playoffs in 2008. The Yankees did win the World Series the next year, but paid $20 million to make Burnett go away and are paying steep prices for the decline years of Teixeira and Sabathia.

Free agency isn't quite dead, but it's become a used car lot cluttered with lemons and high-mileage models -- with high price tags -- among the rare gems.

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